Wine of the Year 2014


It’s odd but I have the impression, or perhaps it is merely a false recovered-memory, that my wine experiences this year were a bit underwhelming in toto. Why is this? In reviewing my wine tasting notes for the past year I see that I enjoyed some really good wines.

Maybe my palate is becoming a bit jaded? Or am I just getting ‘a bit over’ this blogging thing (I am up to over 280 blog posts on WITGT now)? Or is it perhaps due to me and my daughter moving into a new house with L and her boys and us building a new life together with them, which had the downstream effect of shifting my approach to wine appreciation from a solitary, contemplative and somewhat chin-stroking activity to one where I now share the experience with L within the hubbub and chaos of a busy household, and with the result that it all seems so damn less important now? Who knows. Let’s see if the NY changes things…

In the meantime, here were the wines I recorded as either Outstanding 5 or Better Than Very Good 4+ this year:

Vidal Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and 2008 – these were both fantastic wines which I heartily recommend to any lovers and cellarers of red wine. They demonstrate you don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy a local cellar-worthy wine (under $15 each for these wines).

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay 2008 – no list would be complete without a top KR Chardonnay. I was fortunate also to drink and love the Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2009. In an embarrassment of riches I have also been drinking their Village chardy all year, and served it at my 50th.

Roaring Meg Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – this was a delicious surprise, served by the glass at Christchurch airport

Ata Rangi Pinot Noir Martinborough 2008 and 2011 – this wine should win each year, just like Billy Connolly should be awarded Best Comedian every year. Just SO good. But SO expensive now.

Martinborough Syrah Viognier Martinborough 2009 – from the same ville, and just as nice.

Te Mata Estate Bullnose Syrah Hawkes Bay 2008 – outstanding, thrilling.

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2010 – so totally delicious, and such incredible value.

Blackenbrook Pinot Gris Nelson 2013 – another delicious surprise!

Wooing Tree Pinot Noir Central Otago 2012 – from one of Geoff Kelly Worth Cellaring tastings. A winner.

Kidnapper Cliffs Ariki Hawkes Bay 2008 – a stunning cabs merlot blend. An auction win. A runner-up for Wine of the Year.

Millton Clos Ste Anne Chardonnay Gisborne 2009 – an outstanding Chardonnay from a beautiful place.

Craggy Range Noble Riesling Martinborough 2009 – a superlative way to end a wonderful Wellington On A Plate dinner out with L.

Greywacke Pinot Noir Marlborough 2012 – this wine went head-to-head in a tasting alongside two top Burgundies, and triumphed. Another runner-up for Wine of the Year.

Two wines that I thought were a revelation are sadly out of the running due to where they hail from – AUSTRALIA – namely Bannockburn Chardonnay Geelong Victoria 1986 and Tyrell’s Wines Chardonnay Vat 47 Hunter Valley 1986 – they were absolutely terrific at a tasting of old Chardonnay’s.

Cotes du Rhone – My eyes and horizons were widened during a tasting of CdRs, and nothing will ever be the same. I tried, and bought for my cellar, some delicious wines, which are also, sadly, out of the running cos they are FRENCH, and not WINE OF NEW ZEALAND – Guigal Gigondas CdR 2010 and Espiers Gigondas CdR 2010.

Delicious, delicious…

Also out of the running, but amazing due to their innate amazing-ness, are the shy and unassuming Ch. Margaux 1978, Ch. Palmer 1978, Dom. Vieux Telegraphe CdP 1978, Jaboulet CdP Les Cedres 1978, Pio Cesare Barolo Piedmont 1978 and the new kid, Boillot Criots-Batard-Montrachet GC 2011.


But the winner is…


… a wine which I drank three different vintages of at various times of the year – 2007, 2008 and 2011 – and rated them all outstanding…


… I think this wine is the producer’s best product, although it is not what the producer is famous for…


… and, this variety put NZ on the world map, but not with grapes from this area…


Te Mata Cape Crest 2011

WOTY 2014: Te Mata Cape Crest Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay 2007/2008/2011

My notes read, variously:

2011 – Powerful herby nose of lemongrass, flat leaf parsley and coriander. Crisp citrus in the mouth, with a loooong finish of parsley and bags of fresh mint. Supa yum!

2007- This was drinking superbly. Been a fav of mine for a while. One of the two best things they do I think…powerful nose, I see paint-thinner, but in a good way, and brand-new socks, weird…sweet and acidic and fresh to taste. Hint of vanilla from the eight months in French oak barrels, carraway seeds, any lime has mellowed. Additional of 13% semillon cuts through the directness of the sav

Here’s to 2015!

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